“Both men are in custody and are expected to have initial appearances in court today," the statement posted on the DoJ website said.
US Attorney General Eric Holder was quoted as saying in the statement that the two defendants have been accused of conspiring to carry out the "violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of U.S. law."
Cherno Njie, 57, a US citizen of Gambian descent and 46-year-old Papa Faal, a dual US/Gambian citizen are in US custody and expected to appear in court in Baltimore, Maryland and Minneapolis, Minnesota respectively on Monday.
According to the DoJ, Njie was the leader who worked with about 12 other conspirators and financier of the attempted coup that occurred on December 30 in Gambia. If the group had been successful in their coup attempt, Njie would have served as the interim leader of Gambia.
According to local media reports, four people were killed after gunfire erupted at Gambia’s presidential palace in the capital city of Banjul during the attempted coup.
Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh also seized power of the country in a 1994 military coup and became president in 1996. Jammeh has since remained in power through elections that have been criticized as being manipulated.